The neighbourhood around Bethnal Green Road is one of bustling and diverse activity. The high street forms a spine that serves the largely residential streets beyond. This social and urban model is common throughout London, but Bethnal Green has its own approach, one which reflects its cultural mix and brings the street to life through numerous shops that spill their activities and wares onto the pavement.
Our host building was one such building. Located within the Redchurch Street Conservation area, the former silk weaver’s cottage provided a ground and lower ground floor commercial space, with an active, heavily trafficked frontage to Bethnal Green Road. The upper floors provided residential accommodation in the form of two HMO dwellings. The building however was in a dire state of repair. Internally the rooms had undergone numerous revisions leaving them unrecognisable as modern-day residential accommodation, with the exterior crumbling in places and falling apart in others.
Our brief was to bring the London Stock Building back to full glory, and strip away years of neglect. Pre-application discussions with the London Borough of Tower Hamlets directed the project towards a façade retention scheme, in which the areas of significant historical value such as the frontage to Bethnal Green Road were to be retained. Behind this, full demolition and re-provision of high quality, fit for purpose commercial space at ground and lower ground, along with two single bedroom apartments and a duplex penthouse were proposed. A rooftop dormer extension clad in zinc completed finalised the contemporary mixed-use proposal rooted in local context.
Generous commercial space was proposed that connected ground and lower ground whereas no connection had previously been available., along with a new high-quality heritage inspired frontage from pilaster and painted timber. The residential spaces above, were granted a new, private communal entrance with secure bicycle and bin storage and an abundance of natural light.
The apartments were designed to create a connection with the street. Open plan living spaces were located toward the front of the building where the noisy hustle and bustle of London life was less of a concern. Bedrooms and private terraces were located toward the rear, where the southern aspect and tree top views create sense of peace and tranquillity.